tv U.S. Embassy Security in Lybia CSPAN October 14, 2012 3:41pm-4:00pm EDT
concerns? >> yes. i tried to make contact with senator mccain because he had made several visits to tripoli. i was not able to get a response from his office. >> thank you. what time did you approach your congressperson with these concerns? >> i sent an e-mail on sunday, the 28th of september. >> fairly recently. >> guest. >> are you worried the democratic side of this aisle made several attempts, including an e-mail last weekend, trying to contact you and have some opportunity to explore the nature of those concerns you shared to possibly understand what he might be trying to testify on today, a common practice? >> i assumed the information i was giving would be shared but the entire committee at some point. >> that is why you did not
respond to the e-mail from democratic staff members? >> yes. >> to pick up on mr. gordon's questioning of others on the panel, you were not encouraged or discouraged from talking to the democratic side of the aisle in preparation for this hearing? >> no, sir, it's just easier to talk to one point of contact. >> thank you. ambassador kennedy, is there an ongoing investigation into what occurred in benghazi? >> there are two ongoing investigations. one by the federal bureau of investigations and the other being conducted by the review board which is a congressionally mandated process that comes into being after a tragedy of this nature. >> when do we expect those to be completed and the report provided? >> i cannot speak to the fbi
investigation. that is beyond my ken. but i know this secretary has asked the accountability review board to proceed as expeditiously as possible while making sure they are thorough and accurate. and it does investigations, we're having this hearing? >> that is correct. >> one of the things i am understanding is it's hard for me and others to understand what we are trying to get at here. would you agree that the libya i experienced briefly, i was in libya the same amount of time as our colleague and i don't know if he went to benghazi -- >> i was not allowed to go. >> we both went to tripoli and it seemed a very volatile situation in terms of too many
people with too many weapons, lots of militias trying to keep control over who is the good guy and to is the bad guy. the matter how many security personnel we might have had in the field, that was a problem and i gather it is still. is that an accurate assessment? >> that was one of our major struggles, just to figure out who was who. >> inherently unstable, as we are trying to transition from walmart gaddafi to something we hope this more -- trying to transition from gaddafi to simply hope is more stable. >> correct. >> ambassador kennedy described it not so much as a dispute as needs assessment. it was your decision it be extended a third time, correct? >> correct. mr. ambassador, your view was or your colleagues he was we are trying to graduate from that and we think we have the assets to do it, therefore, for whatever
reason, that request was not honored because it was felt that was not needed or? >> what we were trying to do is build in a state department capacity to replace the personnel we borrowed from the department of defense. the sst was great. they provided airport analysis at the airport was finished. they provided medical capabilities. the state department replaced it with its own capability. they provide a communications capability, we replaced it with the state department communications capability and a also provided direct security assistant personnel. wonderful colleagues from that unit. we were also replacing them as we do all over the world, by building an inherent state park and capability. my colleagues believe we could achieve that right balance
between what the state department could provide and what the military had been providing to us when we were not ready to assume those responsibilities. >> thank you. my time is up. >> the best part is you got that extra 30 seconds very artfully. >> you are always generous. thank you. >> with that, we go to the gentleman from idaho. >> thank you. one of the most difficult job than have and women who lose their lives it service of this country. i take that responsibility very, very seriously. i am looking right now and i am really confused ambassador kennedy, by some of this david you are making, particularly the statement that has been addressed before. you said if any administration official, including any career official were on television on sunday, september 16, they would
have said what ambassador rice said. the information she had from the intelligence community, i see how specific you are being caught lot from the intelligence community, is the same at that point. can you explain to me how on september 12, you told congressional aides that he believed it was a terrorist attack? >> congressman, i told them it was my personal opinion and i also believe it was because of the nature of it and lethality of it that it was a complex attack. >> how can you sit here today -- the following day, you had the idea it was a terrorist attack, in your opinion and you claim you are not a security expert. how can you claim today you would have made that same statement that ambassador rise
would have made on tv? >> ambassador rice was asked certain questions about information she had her possession and that was the same information had in my possession. >> but you came to a different conclusion? >> no, sir, i did not. >> yes, he did. the statements are clear. you said today there were multiple reports, and you did not want to specify what those reports were about what happened on september 11. could you tell me when those remote -- when those multiple reports came out? >> i would have to refer to notes. >> the day, a day after the incident or two days after the incident with your >> i would be glad to get that impression. >> you knew you were coming here to testify before congress and you knew there were multiple reports and you cannot tell us when those reports came out? >> as i said earlier, it was an
evolving a series of reports over every day since the 12th of september. >> would the gentleman suspend? ambassador kennedy, i want to make it clear, the gentleman is asking a reasonable question. to the best of your ability, approximating, we know seven days after the attack, there were in fact false statements made. that gentleman is trying to figure out how many reports continue to come to seven days, six days, give us your best estimation and we will let you be accurate for the record exactly. >> can you answer that question? >> mr. chairman, mr. labrador, and not going to speculate on numbers i firmly have -- i don't firmly have in my head. >> was there at least one report before september 16 that contradicted what was telling -- with the intelligence committee was telling you and ambassador
rights? >> i do not remember a report that contradicted what the intelligence committee was telling us. >> you just said there were several reports, multiple reports and i had different conclusions. >> as i said in response to an earlier question, you're asking me to go into the nature of classified reports and i cannot do that in this session. >> it is pretty clear you are coming here with information about reports that you are unwilling to say and i think we'll have to have a classified hearing at some point. at a quick question for the lieutenant colonel and mr. nordstrom. given the information you saw on tv and the information on libya, did you come to the conclusion as to whether this was a terrorist act or it was based on some film on the internet? >> >> it was instantly
recognizable to me as a terrorist attack. >> instantly recognizable? why is that? >> because of my prior knowledge there, i almost expected the attack to come. we were the last flight there. >> -- the last flag there. >> the first impression i had it was going to be something similar to one of the brigade's we saw there, specifically the brigade that came to mind was a unit or a group that's lieutenant colonel wood's personal and i have track for some time and were concerned about. that a specific group had been involved in a similar but much smaller scale incident at the end of june involving the to be in conflict where they stormed the facility in protest what they claimed was an anti islamic film. >> thank you.
i just want to make it clear for the record that on september 16, ambassador rice went on tv, and i'm assuming it was at the direction of this administration, she was not there on her own. am sure she has better things to do on a sunday morning, she went to specifically tell the american people that all of the intelligence information led to only one conclusion, when it is clear intelligence experts, security experts, and even ambassador kennedy looking at the information happening on tv could have concluded something different. i think is outrageous and shameful. >> we now go to the gentleman from illinois who has been patiently waiting. >> thank you very much. i want to thank all the witnesses for participating by appearing here today. i also want to commend all of the brave men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis by
serving in these high-risk areas. i also extend my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives or were injured during this tragic attack following the debt of longtime ruler, muammar gaddafi, libya and its citizens entered a critical transition time. ambassador stevens once described this as "a time of great excitement as the libyan people first experienced freedom, but also a time of significant trepidation for what might come next." ambassador stevens obviously was correct. ambassador kennedy, benghazi was
the cradle of the revolution. could you explain the importance of the diplomatic mission in libya and the special post in benghazi? >> thank you, sir. benghazi was the cradle of the revolution. there are essentially two major parts of libya, east and west. in order to help the libyans move forward, to help them take advantage of their new-found freedom and build a democratic structure, we could not hunker down and, we could not stay out. as i mentioned earlier, the state department has to go into harm's way. if we're going to advance u.s. national security interests, we cannot retreat, we have to go, to use the colloquialism, we have to go where the action is. we will take every step we can to mitigate the risk to the
personal abroad, but we cannot and those risks, we cannot stay out of the action, we have to go there and as you correctly posit, because of the importance of benghazi in the development of the new libya, we have to forward operating locations there and have visit there by ambassador stephen. >> thank you very much. can you describe some of the challenges faced by security offices in analyzing security risks while allowing the diplomatic mission to interact with the local leaders and individuals in the population and still be effective? >> absolutely. that was one of the tensions we always had. we understood the need to engage across a wide spectrum of programs.
that was one of the main reasons we wanted those security resources, so we could deploy sufficient resources to respond when there was a problem. there was not open warfare at all times in libya. generally speaking, we saw a lot of improvements. it was fairly permissive during the daytime, things started to heat up after hours. sort of a joke, i sought was in the newspaper, but we have a saying it was in libya, you are fine until you're not. our problem was that someone found themselves in an issue, we had three officers specifically trapped in the prime minister's building when it was stormed by fighters protesting a pay issue. were we going to have sufficient people who could respond and navigate their way and and extricate those people? with time and less resources,, we were not going to have that.
one of the frustrating things i found early on, i was extremely pleased with the planning to get us into libya. the frustrating thing i've found is once the first teams started to expire at 60 days, there was a complete and total absence of planning that i saw in terms of what we were supposed to do from that point on. when i requested resources, when i requested assets, instead of supporting those was criticized and somehow was my responsibility to come up with a plan on the ground and not the responsibility for ds, and i raise that up with the director in march. 60 days with no plans. it was hoped that everything would get better. >> can i ask for consent with 15 additional seconds? >> without objection. >> ambassador, could you tell us
how security risks at a post are evaluated and when our requests for increases staffs or resources justified? >> yes, sir. we have a formula we try to use. is not a quadratic equation, but we look at the stability of the government, the threat against us post-government, counter- terrorism capability, the setback, the physical plans we can muster, the ability to get sufficient local guard capability there. we put all that together. but in that and, this is an inherently risky operation. we cannot withdraw always to fortresses. we look at this and then we try to place as we believe we placed in libya on the basis of all the information we had to date, all
the information we had, we put a security program into effect. that is what we call risk mitigation. we cannot and the risk if we cannot achieve that level of risk mitigation, as we didn't leak -- as we did in damascus or as we have done in other locations. we simply remove our personnel from there because we cannot achieve that level of risk mitigation. >> thank you very much. >> happy to do it. as a favor to the former chairman of the full committee, i ask unanimous consent he have to minutes to speak out of order. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i will be very brief. i will be very brief.